Sci-Fi Field Guides

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Sci-Fi Field Guides
From: "Michael Todd" <>
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 15:55:06 +1000
Hello all,
I've had some ideas about field guides. There are problems and errors in all the field guides that have come out. One good reason for this is that it must be a bloody hard thing to do (obviously no first hand experience on my part!) The author of a fieldguide may be an expert on some of the birds but they are never expert on all the birds, hence the weak points that are inherent in all the field guides. I've thought of some ideas that might solve the field guide problem.
1-       HANZAB could be released as a field gude at the end of its publication period. This might have already been mooted- I've been out of the loop for a while. When the text is compressed into the necessary details for identification and the plates are reduced in size I think this would make an excellent field guide. It would have to be better than the preceding field guides because of the resources and the number of people that have been responsible for producing it. Experts on the various birds covered have run their eye over the work before it has been published thus greatly reducing the risk of major blunders slipping through, which unfortunately happens with all the field guides.
2-      WEBSITE  FIELD GUIDE- What if a website fieldguide was created. Obviously fieldguide would be a bit of a misnomer as most people don't lug their PC out with them when they're birdwatching. The advantage of a webpage guide is that it could be continually updated and corrected as people located mistakes and errors. It would thus have the advantage of many, many contributors in fact anyone who could get access to the internet. It could be continually upgraded and corrected as people contributed by notifying the poor sod who would be responsible for the massive website. Would this be the problem? Would the site be too large? Users could print out the guide for use in the field. I guess the lack of colours in printouts (given the cost of colour ink) could limit its use in the field also.
3-        3D  IDENTIFICATION - I've had another thought re field guides. We now have an abundance of not quite up to scratch field guides that are all trying to do the same thing. If we need any more field guides I think we need a different type of guide that presents in a different way. Apparently there is software that is able to turn 2d photos or images into 3d images which rotate around. So, if for example you had a series of photos of a bird from ten different angles, this software would be able to turn it into a 3 dimensional bird that you could spin around on your computer to see all sides of the bird concerned - front, back and sides. How is that for science fiction bird identification! I hope I see this field guide in my lifetime!
Food for thought.
Mick Todd
P.S. Note that my email address has changed to
Michael Todd
Tropical Savannas CRC
PO Box 780, Atherton, Qld, 4883
Phone- (07) 40918837
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